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Luang Prabang in numbers

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, December 08, 2013 at 04:03:17 :: Laos

Wat That Luang RasamahavihaneFacts and stats on Luang Prabang, the first city of the Lao Kingdom, well known for its numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries, and its monks, walking through the streets every morning, collecting alms.

1353: the year the city (known by the Tai name Xieng Dong Xieng Thong) became the official capital of the first Lao kingdom, Lan Xang.

32: the number of temples in the city designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

328: the number of zigzag steps to climb to reach the top of the Phousi Mountain located in the center of Luang Prabang. You will be rewarded with a perfect 360 panoramic view of the whole town.

425: the distance from Luang Prabang to the Lao capital, Vientiane.

180: the lifespan in year – from 1707 to 1887 – of the independent Kingdom of Luang Prabang.

1975: the final year of celebrated monastery Wat Xieng Thong’s tenure as a royal temple where Lao Kings were crowned.

19,714: Luang Prabang’s total area in square kilometers.

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Patuxai, Vientiane, Laos

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 26, 2008 at 15:04:16 :: Laos

Patuxai (literally Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph), formerly the Anousavary or Anosavari Monument, is a monument in the center of Vientiane, Laos built in the 1960s.

National Memorial, Patuxay (Arc de Triomphe), avenue Lane Xang, Vientiane, Laos

It is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. Although faintly resembling the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, it is typically Laotian, decorated with many kinnari figures — half woman, half bird.

It was built with US-purchased cement that was supposed to have been used for the construction of a new airport. Hence it's sometimes called 'the vertical runway'. From a distance, Patuxai looks much like its French source of inspiration. Up close, however, the Lao design is revealed. The bas-relief on the sides and the temple-like ornamentation along the top and cornices are typically Lao, though the execution is at times shoddy.

Patuxay (literally Victory Gate), formerly the Anousavary or Anosavari Monument, is a monument in the center of Vientiane, Laos

Patuxai is within walking distance of the town centre and work in recent years has transformed the surrounding field into the most popular park in Vientiane. It's a good place to soak up the atmosphere of modern Laos, with the Chinese-donated musical fountain a big hit in the late afternoon.

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Vang Vieng, the paradise for backpackers in Laos

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, August 12, 2007 at 13:32:17 :: Laos

Situated midway along the Vientiane to Luang Prabang road, Vang Vieng has become the backpacker's pit stop in Laos. Surrounded by splendid karst scenery and overflowing with activities (caving and tubing down the river are two of the most popular activities), many prolong their stay here far longer than originally planned.

Street of Vang Vieng (japanese: ヴァンヴィエン), backpacker town, Laos

The town is riddled with such an array of guesthouses, restaurants and shops that it's hard to know what to do on arrival. Just about every shopfront on the main streets of this small but rapidly developing town caters exclusively to the tourist dollar. If you're looking for some Lao culture, Vang Vieng isn't the place to find it.

The reason this tourist mecca has sprung up is the gorgeous Nam Song River and the magnificent karst limestone mountains lining it. The imposing structures rise up out of the land and run for kilometres, abutting pancake flat rice fields and the river. Stunning at any hour, the mountains are of course particularly beautiful with the golden pink glow of sunset behind them...

Nam Song River, Vang Vieng, Laos

For action and adventure, there are caves to explore, trekking, kayaking and rafting trips and for the ultra-adventurous, there's rock climbing. To chill out and enjoy the scenery, hire a tyre inner tube and float down the Nam Song River basking in the beauty of the countryside, stopping for beers along the way. (source

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In The News

Luang Prabang, Laos

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 13, 2007 at 11:07:16

View of Luang Prabang and Mekong river from Phousi mountain, center Luang Prabang, LaosLuang Prabang, also spelt "Luang Phabang", "Luang Phrabang", "Louang Phrabang" or "Louangphrabang") is the former capital of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage city since 1995.

Luang Prabang is rich in cultural heritage, known as the seat of Lao culture, with monasteries, monuments traditional costumes and it is surrounded by many types of nature's beauty. Luang Prabang (currently 22,000 inhabitants) is located in north central Laos, on the Mekong River about 425 km north of Vientiane, Luang Prabang province has a total population of 365000.

Buddhist Temple at Haw Kham complex, museum garden, Luang PrabangThe Royal Palace (Haw Kham), located on the bank of the Mekong River, was built between 1904 and 1909 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong (Sisavangvong) and his family. It houses the Royal throne of Lan Xang and many other regalia and religious treasures.

Wat Xieng Thong was built in 1560 by King Setthathirath. It is situated 300m south of the confluence of the Mekong and Kham rivers. The Buddhist temple is the most stunning in Luang Prabang, richly decorated with coloured glass and gold and represents the typical Lao art style.

Pink Buddha at Xi Boun Heuang temple, Luang PrabangThe main hill, Mount Phousi, right in middle of Luang Prabang, situated 150m and 328 steps up above the peninsula, from which you have a good view of the whole area. The climb is tiring, but the views from the top are certainly worth it. From the top, you can see the old Royal Palace, now the Palace Museum, the rivers and surrounding villages. On top of the mountain is Wat Chom Si, built in 1804.

Other attractions in Luang Prabang include Wat Pra Bath Nua; Wat That Luang dates to the year 1818; Wat Visoun, south of Mount Phousi, constructed during the reign of King Visounarat around 1520; Wat Mai, built in 1821 A.D., during the reign of King Manthatourath; Pak Ou Caves, the famous "Buddha caves", some km north of Luang Prabang on the Mekong river; Lu village (Baan Lu), located 3 km from the centre of Luang Prabang, famous for cotton and silk weaving.

Vientiane, Laos

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, November 26, 2006 at 10:06:11

Triumphal Arch, PatuxayPhoto of the week:
Patuxay (literally "Victory Gate"), previously known as the Anousavary or Anosavari Monument, is kind of "independence monument" in the center of Vientiane, Laos capital

SouthEast Asia - Laos - Vientiane - Triumphal Arch - Patuxay

UNESCO World Heritage

Laos, Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 23, 2013 at 12:09:25

Location Champasak Province, Laos
Coordinates N14 50 54 E105 49 20
Property 39,000 ha
Date of Inscription 2001

Brief Description ( )

The Champasak cultural landscape, including the Vat Phou Temple complex, is a remarkably well-preserved planned landscape more than 1,000 years old. It was shaped to express the Hindu vision of the relationship between nature and humanity, using an axis from mountain top to river bank to lay out a geometric pattern of temples, shrines and waterworks extending over some 10 km. Two planned cities on the banks of the Mekong River are also part of the site, as well as Phou Kao mountain. The whole represents a development ranging from the 5th to 15th centuries, mainly associated with the Khmer Empire.

Photos from Landolia

Vat Phou Wat Phou

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map

Laos, Town of Luang Prabang

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 02, 2009 at 06:54:17

Location Province of Luang Prabang, Laos
Coordinates N19 53 20.004 E102 7 59.988
Property 820 ha
Date of Inscription 1995

Brief Description ( )

Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions.

Photos from Landolia

Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang Sala Pha Bang, Luang Prabang Wat That Luang Rasamahavihane

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map

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